Month

September 2017

Make Your Mornings a Little Less Crazy by Creating a Routine

Do you ever feel as though you’re always rushing to get the kids ready and out the door to school or a doctor’s appointment on time? I know I have and still do! I like to give myself as much time as possible before I need to be anywhere. Sometimes it’s a whole two hours just because I know something will come up.

Before creating a routine, I needed to understand the timing of everything that needs to get done so that I get my son to school on time. There’s always something they forgot, usually it’s my daughter that takes the longest. So I needed to plan accordingly.

First, write down every task or activity that you need to get done before heading out the door. Grab a notebook paper and draw a timeline that starts with when you need to get up on one end and on the other when you need to leave. Use 15 minute time increments and list all the activities that need to be accomplished. Things such as changing clothes or brushing teeth. I was inspired to do this timeline by Sharon Rowley of Mom of 6, you can read the exact post here that helped me:  https://www.momof6.com/mom-organization/how-to-organize-your-life-how-to-create-a-morning-routine/ .

I get up usually at 545 am so that I am able to allow myself  20 minutes of “Mom Time” to enjoy my coffee and breakfast. I’m also able to check a few emails before I start. Then my mornings begin at 610 am with getting my husbands’ work clothes and lunch ready. But as with life, sometimes the morning routine doesn’t always go as planned. I tried to prep things the night before but because my current day I job is from 3pm-11pm, I felt too tired and just wanted to relax a little before bed. So that routine idea was out the window!

Still, I needed to create a morning routine that would help ease my crazy mornings, I’ve come up with a few tips to help not only myself but all other moms out there!

  1. Eliminate or Limit Tasks That Take a Lot of Time in the Morning: Try to be proactive and take care of tasks that are time-consuming the night before or pick a day such as Sunday to do them. I’ve chosen Sunday as my day to prep my kids’ clothes for the week ahead. They’re all in one spot on a shelf in their closet and all we do is grab and go! When I first wake up, I get my husband clothes ironed and then focus on his lunch for the day. Once he’s set, I get the kids their breakfast and they’ll watch their cartoons while eating. I’ll grab a bite and my coffee in between.
  2. Use Lists to Your Advantage: Write out a list of things that you need on a daily basis, keep it in the bag you will be using or placed in a spot you will be able to see it such as a cork board or refrigerator. I keep a spiral notebook with me at all times, so that if I have an idea or a thought I want to remember I can quickly write it down before I forget.
  3. Leave Yourself Reminders and a Mental Checklist in Obvious Places: Leave yourself reminder notes on the fridge or cork board to give yourself a quick reminder of what you need for the day and tasks that have been or still need to be completed. Also, keep a mental checklist to make sure you have everything before heading out the door. I like to also have a dry erase board or cork board to write notes or post up sticky notes as well. 
  4. Allow Extra Time for Unexpected Events: Getting kids out the door on time can be a challenge on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes just to get them to brush their teeth in the morning. I always like to get ready at least a half hour before we need to be anywhere so that we’re not rushing. Such as when my son has karate, I get his gear prepped 20 minutes before he has to be at the dojo. If we had a dentist appointment I’ll get our stuff ready 20 minutes prior and we head out the door 45 minutes before the appointment. It’s at least a 2o minute drive from where we live to the dentist. It’s always better to leave yourself extra time to get everyone going and getting things ready so that you’re not rushing. What’s the worse that can happen except being a few minutes early!

I usually get about 5 to maybe 6 hours a night of sleep, I know I have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep so that I am able to work from home on a full-time basis.  No matter what time of schedule you come up with, keep in mind that things may not always go according to plan. I try to give myself extra time to get the kids ready if we plan on going anywhere, even a whole 2 hours if I have to. My husband probably thinks I’m a little crazy for allowing so much time but I just know that getting a 7 and 3-year-old ready can be a slow moving process.

A routine can make such a difference in your day and when I stick to it, I notice it too. If I’m not being too lazy that is!

Do you have a morning routine that you have found works for you? Please feel to share!

 

Why I Love Trello and How It’s Helping Me To Get Organized!

 

Life can be a bit crazy, especially when you still have a day job, family and at the same time working on your side hustle. It can be a bit overwhelming and tasks may often be forgotten.  For me, I need to write things down as soon as I think about it or I will forget. I’m also a visual person and I like to see at a glance what tasks need to be done. Just like the saying goes “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” rings true for me.

Recently, I converted from my Daytime Planner to a Composition Book that I customize and tweak as I need to. In addition to that, I like to organize my tasks and appointments online as well. I use Google Calendars but in addition to that, I began to use Trello. Trello is an online tool that helps to organize your projects into boards. It tells you what’s being worked on and who’s working on it and also the stage the project is at.

One of the things I like about Trello is that its sort of an online notepad. I can draft a schedule and easily move tasks around as I need to. At first, I didn’t quite understand Trello so I searched on the web for more information and also took a training in The Savvy Tech Lab. Both have helped me to understand how to use Trello more.

Enter Trello

Trello is a task management software that uses the Kanban System to help you organize projects that you are working on. Kanban is a productivity system developed by Toyota to keep productions levels high, it actually means billboard or signboard.  Trello is well known for its sticky note type filled whiteboard.

Each individual sticky note is a representation of different tasks within a project such as your daily or weekly task list. I am able to see all inner “guts” of any project I’m currently working on in one place or page. It’s also possible to have multiple pages if necessary, such as in my case.

It’s flexible so that you’re able to easily organize projects or to do lists, it’s even easy to share with others. You make a board and add your lists to the board, add cards to the lists that contain the actual to do item. Each card can have members, due dates, attached files, as well as checklists.

I like to make lists of things I need to or hope to accomplish in a day or week. I would normally write things down in my notebook or planner of a task or a reminder to myself.  With Trello, I have my personal section where I have started doing a Daily To Do List. Everything that I can think of that needs to get done will go in the To Do List. Next, I have a card for tasks that take 10 minutes or less, 30 minutes or less, 1 hour or less, and lastly a card for tasks that will take more than an hour to complete.

I can drag items from the Daily To Do List to the card where I think it will fit best in. If I feel a task will take only 10 minutes to complete, that’s where I will drag and drop it. If I have 30 minutes to spare I can quickly look at what’s on my cards and complete that task.

I like to keep everything in one place if possible, it can get frustrating to look in different places for things that need to be done. Because I have my freelance hustle and a full-time job I am still in need of using separate google calendars but I can track tasks for both in Trello.

It’s still a work in progress but for the time being, it seems to be working, with planners costing up to $75 or more this free task management system could completely replace them. Only time will tell.

How about we all get organized together!